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Missions 101

Encouraging Stories from TLI Training Sites

Sep. 11, 2013By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Here are some encouraging stories from different locations where we are training leaders:

From Athens

During my time teaching Hermeneutics to the Persian class, the students led six others to faith in Jesus Christ. The first, an Afghani man named Mohammed, was in the class all five nights. He was an unbeliever on Monday night, but came to faith Tuesday morning and continued in the course. It was thrilling to see the change in his demeanor over the course of the week. And it was equally encouraging to watch Javad begin to disciple him, as he was helping him find passages in the Bible, sitting with him, welcoming him into his life.

Also, Sultan, one of the key evangelists in the group, shared with me at the end of the week that he would take all the notes he wrote down, along with the curriculum we handed out, and type it into his laptop, so that he could send the material on hermeneutics to believers in Iran. The multiplication of our teaching and curriculum will be unknown in this life.


I heard a testimony today that I felt compelled to share with you all. Yesterday, there were many people from Iran who were invited to the Vo_ce of Tr_th center. They attended a Sunday evening service which was led by Sult_n, Sh_rouz & Jav_d. (These three men are all part of our TLI program in Athens in the Farsi Class.) Last night, they co-taught a 90 minute lesson in the evening service which gave the "big picture" of the Bible. They used diagrams which they drew on the dry erase board and explained how the whole Bible fit together. At the end, they explained how to respond to the message of the Bible by repenting and placing faith in Jesus alone for salvation. We give God the glory that 16 Iranians made a commitment to follow Christ as Lord and Savior!


Among our African class, we have students from many different countries. One particular student is Emanuel from Ghana. He has lived in Athens for many years and has held leadership roles in his local church. He has sensed a call to pastoral ministry and was eager to begin the TLI classes when they began in January of 2012. After taking the first three courses, he went back to his Ghana to visit family. Upon going to his home church, he told his pastor that he was taking theological training classes in Athens. He happened to have his "Biblical Theology" student workbook with him. His pastor was so happy to see the maturity in Emanuel that he invited him to preach the very next Sunday.

Emanuel was nervous as this would be his first opportunity to ever preach and he would be doing so in front of many friends and family members. (In sharing about this occasion, Emanuel pointed to a pulpit and said, "I had never been behind one of those before and I was nervous!") But the Lord impressed upon him to put together a message based upon something which he learned in the Biblical Theology course. At the close of the message, three people repented of their sins and placed faith in Jesus Christ! Emanuel shared with us that he had heard later in the year that each of them were baptized and he gave God the glory to have been able to be used by the Lord. Emanuel exhibits a very strong teaching gift and an eager mind to grow in his theological understanding for the purpose of ministry. Currently, Emanuel has completed four TLI courses and is eager to complete the entire program.

From Romania

We have seen spiritual growth in the people who are coming to these courses. And a practical way to see that was to listen to the sermons that each student had to prepare and preach (or Bible studies) in the last day of our last course in Iasi. It was amazing to hear from all of the students how they've incorporated elements from all the courses we have discussed in the past, especially the foundational ones. Also, it was very encouraging to wtiness a young man's conversion and growth through our classes. He came at the first course taught by Philemon as more of an observer, at the encouragement of the host pastor, who wanted him to listen to solid teaching. During that week God really convicted Mugur of his sin and became a believer. A year later, after going through 4 TLI classes, Mugur has an amazing grasp of the Bible, and leads Bible study at his college through Campus Crusade and had a great message in our last day of class, based on the Attributes of God (he analyzed the text in its context and had a very christo-centric approach to the whole passage and application).

From Liberia

I love teaching TLI students in Africa because they have usually read the Bible many more times than I have. I could learn from their example. It’s a joy to have students with lots of raw knowledge, but a deeper joy to see them understanding and apply its meaning and to see them discover Christ revealed on its pages. In April I taught a class on topics in Systematic Theology. One question that sparked intense interest was what happens when a Christian sins? Their answers revealed an anxious, shameful uncertainty that their sin was unresolved, and a Karmic/ Anamistic fear that God might pay them back. This was what was taught in their churches. They had read Colossians 2:13-14, “...having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” and 1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sin in His body on the tree ... by his wounds you have been healed” but never realized that Christ was punished for their sin leaving no unresolved, hanging punishment for their sin. Our joy truly abounded together as we rejoiced in our glorious freedom as the children of God

From Uganda

After reading Piper's book on preaching, one senior pastor from Northern Uganda wrote this on a test: "Having realized the significance of the supremacy of God in preaching, I choose to yield myself to such a discipline in my life, longing to see my preaching improved to bring fruit for His glory."

Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International.  As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter

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